Monday, May 30, 2005

Alexandra Lines Pt. 2

The Daily Mirror published a story ("SUNBED GIRL, 22 KILLED BY CANCER") last week about Alexandra ("Alex") who died on May 14th from melanoma. Alex was a music student who also had her own website and apparently was into sportbikes (as was Tiffany). Sounds like she had a lot of friends and she really knew how to have fun. I'm sure she is greatly missed.

Excerpts from the Daily Mirror:

A PARTYGIRL who liked to top up her tan on sunbeds has died after battling skin cancer for two years.

Alexandra Lines, 22, a talented music student, was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma in 2003.

But despite doctors cutting it out, it was too late to save her and the cancer spread to her brain.

Yesterday, Alexandra's family and Cancer Research UK warned of the dangers of sunbathing.

They urged young people to seek medical advice quickly if they have a mole on their body that changes shape or colour.

Distraught dad John, 55, said: "The whole family is devastated because you think it can never happen to you and then it does. It shows nobody is exempt.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Alexandra Lines

Alexandra Lines, a gifted music student in England, was diagnosed with a malignant mole in February of 2003. She died a couple weeks ago. She was only 22. Read her story in the Romford Recorder.


Her dad, John, 55, paid tribute to his daughter and spoke of how dangerous the sun can be. He said: "The whole family is devastated because you think it can never happen to you and then it does. It shows nobody is exempt.

"Since Alexandra was diagnosed we learnt that people with red hair and blue eyes and who are generally fair skinned are more prone to contracting skin cancer.

"Alexandra did cover up in the sun because in the past she did get burnt, but she had also used sunbeds and we don't know if that too was a factor."

A study carried out by Professor Brian Diffey revealed in March that sunbathing can double the risk of skin cancer.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Playing with fire

Summer is coming so it's time for the news media to start cranking out the tanning-is-dangerous-but-everyone-under-
25-doesn't-care-and-just-wants-to-look-good articles. This article ("Playing with fire: Young sun worshippers continue to flirt with cancers") in the Ithaca Journal is one of the better ones. Below are some excerpts.

What compels people -- especially when the American Cancer Society says that one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime -- to defy the odds and bare their skin to the possible source of that disease?
"I do worry about it being a risk, but it (sunbathing) relaxes me," says Krystin Maloney, a 19-year-old freshman from Ann Arbor, Mich.
She's in a bikini, reading on a lounge chair. No sunglasses or hat. But she says she has applied sunscreen. Maloney is concerned more about her appearance than the risks of tanning. "I don't like being pale. I feel it (a tan) makes me look healthier," Maloney says.

I've got to start taking exception with quotes like the above that insinuate that pale skin is ugly and that tan people are more attractive. I don't know where they get this impression. You can't totally blame the media for this one. There are plenty of examples in the media of attractive models and actresses that are pale. Haven't these people seen Nicole Kidman Or Scarlett Johanssen?? I wouldn't say that neither one of them have much of tan but they are beautiful and successful actresses.

Jacky Sims, a 17-year-old high school student who had two melanomas removed, no longer sees tans as beautiful:

For Sims, a tan is ugly.
Sims says she knows why people her age dismiss the warnings.
"We think we're invincible and that it's not going to happen to us," she says. "We think skin cancer is not really serious. You can just cut it out."

False Security

From Health Day News:
Tanning booths may be contributing to the meteoric rise in skin cancers seen worldwide.
Ok this next statement is a little less obvious:
While tanning outdoors is distinctly unhealthy, tanning beds may be even worse because people have a false sense of security from the sun tan parlors. These establishments generally use the longer wavelength ultraviolet A, which doesn't show a visible burn until very high doses.People think it is safer, but in fact, the longer wavelength penetrates much deeper, hitting the blood vessels, causing a decrease in immune function.
That's it. If I added any more excerpts I will have posted the entire article.

Melanoma growth rate graph

From the Houston Chronicle. Graphs the growth of melanoma cases since 1973. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"I'm paying the price now."

From "Despite risks of melanoma, many still tan unprotected skin" in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


People take risks with their health every day. They go jogging without reflective gear. They eat fast food more than they should. They don't floss. And they love to lie out in the sun.

Even when she was very young, Marjorie Gross, who is now in her 60s, knew that there was a high chance that she would get skin cancer. Her father was a doctor, and he pleaded with his fair-skinned, blue-eyed daughter to cover up.

"But I didn't," she said from the office of her skin cancer doctor. "I was concerned about getting a tan. I was a sun-worshipper."

She first got basal cell cancer 20 years ago, and has had surgeries about a dozen times since then to remove cancerous cells. She's also a breast cancer survivor, and takes medication that weakens her immune system, further making her susceptible to cancer.

"I'm paying the price now," she said. "It was a shock since you always think that it's not going to happen to you."

"I guess I'm bound to have skin cancer someday."

From "Are you safe in the sun?" in today's Journal Times Online (Racine, WI).

"Even though I know about it and I'm aware about it, I still don't do anything to protect myself - which in rational thinking makes absolutely no sense," said Elizabeth Gilmore, 22, a University of Wisconsin-Parkside student and resident of the town of Paris.
"I guess I'm bound to have skin cancer someday."
"I guess it's just for appearance, want to look like everyone else."

If you want a reminder of what tanning can do, you may already carry it with you. Compare the outer surface of your arm to the inner, said Dr. Tri Nguyen, a dermatologist with Aurora Health Care in Burlington and Kenosha. On older people who have skin damage, the outer surface with more sun exposure will be more wrinkled; the inner surface will be soft and youthful, he said.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Statins may offer protection

An article in today's Independent Record (Helena, MT) mentions something that I have not read before: A drug taken for lowering serum cholesterol can apparently protect you from melanoma. It is hardly a replacement for good common sense preventions though like sun block and clothing.

See excerpts below: is the most common cause of cancer in women ages 25 through 29 and second only to lung cancer in women 30 through 34.

But most serious cases of melanoma and most melanoma deaths can be prevented. All it takes is regular body vigilance and, most important, a great respect for the damage that can be caused by spending too much time in the sun without adequate protection. There is also emerging evidence that statins, the drugs taken by millions to lower serum cholesterol, can protect against sun-induced melanomas.

Last year in ''The Melanoma Letter'' published by the Skin Cancer Foundation, Dr. Marie-France Demierre of Boston University School of Medicine described the growing evidence for statins as a protector against melanoma.

These cholesterol-lowering agents interfere with the action of two oncogenes, mutations in Ras and Rho proteins, that play a role in the development of melanomas. Laboratory studies also suggest that statins may promote programmed cell death and thus may be useful as therapy for melanoma patients.

But the wise person who ventures outdoors would not rely on such chemoprotection at this point. Sensible behavior in the sun provides the best protection, and only you can apply it.

There is a lot of information in the article and I can't excerpt the whole thing so if you read this much then I encourage you to read the entire story.

Clothing and skin protection

A news item in a recent broadcast on KSLTV Channel 5 in Utah suggests methods for testing clothing to see how much sun protection it provides.


...try putting the fabric up to a bright light. If you can see through it, try something else. Experts say clothing is the best protection, but sunscreen is important too, if you keep putting it on.

Marc Holbrook, REI : "A fairly thin, white t-shirt, cotton t shirt, might give us a SPF of about five, even less if its wet. But by making the clothing tighter woven or thicker we block more UV rays. And believe it or not, color makes a difference."

And color is better than white. Marc Holbrook of REI says if an article of clothing has an SPF rating it likely means the clothing has been tested, not that it has had anything added to the fabric. But you can do a simple test yourself to see how sheer a fabric is.

Marc Holbrook: "Here's a good example. I can actually see my fingers through the fabric. That's a good test; that's not very much UV protection."

Glen Bowen, MD, Huntsman Cancer Institute: "Most of the damage, about 80% of the damage that is done before we graduate from high school."

Glen Bowen, MD, Huntsman Cancer Institute: "Doesn't mean you can't be outdoors, but we should dress more like our grandparents did, where they used a hat, they usually wore long sleeve shirts."

Dan Smith

In 1991 Dan Smith had a cancerous mole removed along with skin lesions and 32 lymph nodes. Dan thought he was ok after the surgery but 12 years later he was rushed to the doctor after forgetting his wife's name and an MRI found five lesions in his brain and two in his lungs. Diagnosis: Stage four melanoma. His doctor's gave him 3-4 months to live. He managed to live until January 31 of this year. You can read his story in North Carolina's Mountaineer newspaper.

From the Mountaineer:

Doctors told Ruth that melanoma spreads quickly and likes to burrow into the brain, but she soon figured that our for herself. MRIs and CAT scans showed the cancer multiplying throughout Dan’s body and moving quickly. It showed up in his brain, his lungs, his liver, his pancreas and in his bones.

Dan believed in ‘if you love someone, tell them,’” said Leo. “Don’t wait until they die. Don’t be afraid to show your soft side. That was basically what we tried to do.”

Greece has a "week against skin cancer"

The Greeks must have not have gotten the news this weekend about the "benefits" of sunbathing because they released a skin cancer alert just in time for the sunbathing season as well as to ring in the "Week Against Skin Cancer" which starts on Monday.

From the Kathimerini:

Heralding the Week Against Skin Cancer in Greece, which begins next Monday, Andreas Katasabas, a professor of dermatology at Athens University, along with several colleagues, warned that sudden exposure to the sun could be worse than constantly being in the sunlight for developing melanoma.
They revealed that 2.58 of Greeks per 100,000 developed melanoma in 1998 (the lowest ratio in Europe), compared to 11.48 in Sweden (the highest) and 7.59 in Britain. But doctors said that during last year’s Week Against Skin Cancer in Greece, of some 2,700 people who took the free tests available, 94 displayed signs of melanoma.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Mary Troy

There are not many teachers that can make a sixth-grader like math, and Mary Troy was one of them, but now she's gone. She was 52.

From the MetroWest Daily:

"She fought a tough fight and went quickly from melanoma," said Mary McNamara, who worked with Troy. Kim Bedard expects it to be difficult for the students today." She died Friday evening," said Bedard. "I don't know if they all found out. Counselors will be available to support the children. It won't be easy."

Troy wanted the best of her students. When passing back a test, if a student didn't do well, Troy sang "Rip it Up," and the student could take the test over. Troy taught Jason Bedard this year, and like many of her students, he remembers the song and how she made class challenging and fun. "When she sang the song, she made the students do the paper over," said Bedard, a sixth-grader. "It was kind of funny and then everybody did it right the next day. She got the message across in a cool way. I really like math because of her."

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Man bites dog

I thought I was done blogging for the day until I spotted this headline: "Scientists Say Sunshine May Prevent Cancer..."

This is the "man bites dog" of newspaper headlines if I ever saw one ("man bites dog" refers to a journalism adage that "dog bites man" is not news but "man bites dog" is because it's out of the ordinary). I urge you to read the entire Associated Press article if you take the bait and click the link.

Yes, Vitamin D is good for you and yes, you can get it from the sun, but nowhere in the article does it recommend you sunbathe more than the 15 minutes several times a week that other experts have already suggested. Anyway, I like to think that this is a fair and balanced blog here so I recommend that you read the article or at least see the excerpts below:

From the AP story:
So the thinking is this: Even if too much sun leads to skin cancer, which is rarely deadly, too little sun may be worse. No one is suggesting that people fry on a beach. But many scientists believe that "safe sun" - 15 minutes or so a few times a week without sunscreen - is not only possible but helpful to health.
Just my opinion, but if you really need to sunbathe a couple times a week to get sun, you really need to get out more. How many of us don't get enough sun through normal daily activities?
No source (of Vitamin D) is ideal. Even if sunshine were to be recommended, the amount needed would depend on the season, time of day, where a person lives, skin color and other factors. Thun and others worry that folks might overdo it. "People tend to go overboard with even a hint of encouragement to get more sun exposure," Thun said, adding that he'd prefer people get more of the nutrient from food or pills.(American Cancer Society's chief epidemiologist, Dr. Michael Thun)
Can't you just take Vitamin D orally?
But too much of the pill variety can cause a dangerous buildup of calcium in the body. The government says 2,000 IUs is the upper daily limit for anyone over a year old. On the other hand, D from sunshine has no such limit. It's almost impossible to overdose when getting it this way. However, it is possible to get skin cancer. And this is where the dermatology establishment and Dr. Michael Holick part company. Thirty years ago, Holick helped make the landmark discovery of how vitamin D works. Until last year, he was chief of endocrinology, nutrition and diabetes and a professor of dermatology at Boston University. Then he published a book, "The UV Advantage," urging people to get enough sunlight to make vitamin D. "I am advocating common sense," not prolonged sunbathing or tanning salons, Holick said. Skin cancer is rarely fatal, he notes. The most deadly form, melanoma, accounts for only 7,770 of the 570,280 cancer deaths expected to occur in the United States this year. "The problem has been that the American Academy of Dermatology has been unchallenged for 20 years," he says. "They have brainwashed the public at every level."(Dr. Michael Holick)
I actually wish Dr. Holick was correct. If the American Academy of Dermatology had truly succeeded in brainwashing us all to the dangers of the sun, my cousin may still be alive today. If the public is brainwashed "at every level" (whatever that means) why is the number of new skin-cancer cases increasing at a faster rate than any other cancer and why has the rate for melanoma more than doubled from 5.7 to 14.31 since 1973(American Cancer Society)?

I could probably see his point if a significant percentage of the population was hiding out in their homes turning sickly pale and suffering from Vitamin D deficiencies. Based on what I read and see though, the opposite is true. A lot of people still don't get it and I think this is a terrible time to be giving them mixed messages.

I really like the quote at the end of this excerpt:
The head of Holick's department, Dr. Barbara Gilchrest, called his book an embarrassment and stripped him of his dermatology professorship, although he kept his other posts. She also faulted his industry ties. Holick said the school has received $150,000 in grants from the Indoor Tanning Association for his research, far less than the consulting deals and grants that other scientists routinely take from drug companies. In fact, industry has spent money attacking him. One such statement from the Sun Safety Alliance, funded in part by Coppertone and drug store chains, declared that "sunning to prevent vitamin D deficiency is like smoking to combat anxiety."

This sums it up for me:
As for sunshine, experts recommend moderation until more evidence is in hand. "The skin can handle it, just like the liver can handle alcohol," said Dr. James Leyden, professor emeritus of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, who has consulted for sunscreen makers. "I like to have wine with dinner, but I don't think I should drink four bottles a day."

"This is just not my time to go."

There's not much I can add to this story about a very brave young woman, Anne Dinnell, fighting to beat stage four melanoma by foregoing traditional treatment in favor of an organic diet of fruits and vegetables. I would like to note however, that the cancer started as a dark spot under one of her finger nails and that at least one doctor had apparently dismissed it. I encourage you to read the article by Nancy Pasternack for yourself.

Below are excerpts from the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

By consuming 50 pounds of carrots, 20 bunches of romaine lettuce, 25 pounds of potatoes, and loads of other vegetables and fruits each week — including chard — Dinnell is trying to beat the odds and get beyond the five years doctors estimated she’ll live.

The food therapy, which Dinnell discovered through research and a PBS documentary she happened on about physician Max Gerson’s experiments in the 1950s and ’60s, has become the nexus of her life.

The number of new skin-cancer cases is increasing at a faster rate than any other cancer, according to the American Cancer Society,

This year, more than 1 million new melanoma cases are expected to be diagnosed.

"We’re seeing it in younger and younger people," says Beckett. "That’s the frightening part."(dermatologist Jim Beckett)

In late January, Dinnell was encouraged by her most recent PET scan, which showed her body to be cancer-free.

Her scan in June will be crucial.

Skin cancer a big problem in the UK

Skin cancer is the most diagnosed type of cancer in both Britain and Ireland. The Irish Cancer Society is trying to get the word out by teaming up with area pharmacies. Read about it in today's Limerick Post.

From the Post:
Joining forces with the Irish Cancer Society, Unicare Pharmacy staff hope to publicise the fact that there are approximately 5,600 new cases of skin cancer diagnosed every year in Ireland. Other recent statistics from the National Cancer Registry show there were 401 cases of malignant melanoma in 2001, which is the least common but most dangerous form of skin cancer and 5,195 cases of non- malignant melanoma. 80 - 90 per cent of all cases of skin cancer are caused by the UV rays of the sun, which are present even on a cloudy day in Ireland.

Most of us get enough sun without having to sunbathe

A recent article in the UK Health Telegraph ("Does sunbathing really have to be bad for your health?") tackles the question of how much sun we need to stay healthy. It is important to note what the recommended method of "sunbathing" is in the quotes below. There is no mention of laying out in direct sunlight on the beach with most of your body exposed. What is described sounds more like something you could do on your lunch break fully clothed.

From UK Health Telegraph:
How long do you need in the sun?

Sara Hiom is head of health information at Cancer Research UK, which heads the UK's Sunsmart campaign. She says that nobody really knows exactly how much sun we need for good health, but we do know that, in this country, most of us get enough by simply going about our normal lives to avoid the diseases we associate with vitamin D deficiency, such as rickets, especially because we also get some from our diet.
"For the average fair-skinned person, we would recommend around 15 minutes, two to three times a week, with your arms, face and maybe legs uncovered."

Friday, May 20, 2005

And now for some good news...

NBC4TV in Washington D.C. is reporting that there is a new experimental treatment that can offer hope to patients with advanced cases of melanoma. The process uses immunology to increase the number of cancer-fighting cells in the patient's body. It's currently only being offered to critical melanoma patients who have not responded to other treatments.

In two small studies, about half of the people who had this experimental treatment saw their tumors shrink or disappear. "We identify within those cancers, the immune cells, lymphocytes, that are fighting the cancer but ineffectively. We've developed techniques for taking them out of the body, growing them in a laboratory, educating them to fight the cancer, then giving them back," Rosenberg said ( Dr. Steven Rosenberg).
Right now, this treatment is only being used on patients with advanced cases of melanoma who have not responded to other treatments. Scientists are constantly modifying it as they learn more about it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Why am I still surprised by this stuff?

A study published this week in the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery found that people who know they have a higher risk of skin cancer (history of melanoma in family, burn easily, etc.) typically make no more effort to protect themselves than those who don't know about their risk factor. They even use a lower SPF protection sun block than others. And finally, the study found that this group usually waits until after they are diagnosed to protect themselves from the sun.

From Science Daily:

"It seems we are all teenagers inside, and believe we are invincible to the cumulative dangers of these activities."

"Malignant melanoma is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide," says Dr. Wang. "Prevention is the key to reducing deaths, as such it is vital that we continually assess and improve our education and awareness campaigns."
(Dr. Beatrice Wang a dermatologist at the McGill University Health Centre and assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill)

Those considered high-risk exhibited similar sunbathing patterns, use of indoor tanning beds and frequency of sunscreen and protective clothing use. Incredibly, the high-risk group even used, on average, a lower factor sunscreen (11 SPF for the high-risk group, compared to 18 SPF overall).

Monday, May 16, 2005

Self-Diagnosis not 100%... or even 10% reliable.

The Western Mail (the Welsh newspaper of record) published findings by the Mole Clinic in central London suggesting that most people would not be able to tell the difference between a regular mole and a cancerous one.

The poll of 1,200 people found that only 9% were able to tell the difference between an ordinary mole and one that was cancerous and could be life-threatening.

But despite this, more than two-thirds (67%) said they relied on self-diagnosis to detect skin cancer.

And three-quarters (76%) said they were confident they would be able to recognise a mole that was cancerous.

Not All Sunscreens Are The Same

There are different types of sunscreen (and I don't mean just the SPF rating). They don't all work the same and you should be aware of how they protect you. This topic was discussed at a recent skin cancer screening clinic in Seattle. The quotes below are from a health column by Bob Condor in the Seattle P-I.

"The current data on sunscreens is the best protection comes from what are known as 'physical' sunscreens with titanium dioxide or zinc dioxide," said Abson. The other category of sunscreens are called "chemical" sunscreens, which means they metabolize with the skin to protect against skin damage. Abson said chemical sunscreens require 20 to 30 minutes before full effectiveness.
(Dr. Kim Abson, chief of dermatology at Swedish Medical Center)

Also, once again, sun block is not a skin cancer prevention cure-all.

In any case, dermatologists are quick to explain sunscreens are far from the end-all and protect-all. "The myth is sunscreens protect against all UV (ultraviolet) rays, A and B," said Dr. Brandith Irwin, who practices at the Madison Skin and Laser Clinic on First Hill. "That's just not the case.

And finally, Washington state has the highest rate of female melanoma in the country.

Here's a compelling statistic from a recent study released by Antioch University researcher Kate Davies. The rate of female melanoma in Washington is the highest of any state in the country. A possible explanation: We are more complacent about protection here in the gray, rainy Northwest. Many sunscreens block out UVB rays and sunburns but don't protect against melanoma.

Discouraging News

Melanoma is still the fastest growing cancer in the U.S. and a melanoma patient today doesn't stand a better chance of surviving it than someone would have 30 years ago. That and more was announced Sunday, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Orlando, Florida. Read about it at HealthCentral.

"The rate of rise of melanoma is immense," Trisal said. "It is the fastest-growing cancer we see in the U.S."
While there have been some improvements in the treatment of stage I and II melanoma, Trisal added, melanoma that has spread has been more intractable.

According to the study authors, only 35 percent to 50 percent of people with stage III melanoma and 5 percent to 10 percent with stage IV disease will achieve long-term survival. And surgery, they stated, is still the only treatment that has "stable and predictable success."

The only chemotherapy that works is interferon, and that has, at best, only a 15 percent to 20 percent response rate. "That means tumor shrinkage. It's not a cure rate," Trisal noted.
( Dr. Vijay Trisal, an assistant professor of surgical oncology at City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif).

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Dave Dickens is fighting for his life...

A 35-year-old Kentucky-man would really like to encourage everyone to check for melanoma. Find out why.

If you would like to donate to the Jennifer and David Dickens melanoma research foundation - you can send your donations to:

Bluegrass Community Foundation
200 West Vine Street, Suite 205.
Lexington, KY 40507

Reality check

If you still buy into the misconception that skin cancer is just something little old ladies have scrapped off their face occasionally, checkout the heartbreaking pictures at for a reality check.


Massachusetts is on the ball when it comes to skin cancer prevention. Almost three hundred high schools across the state have been trained in the MEF SKINCHECK program.

Currently, more than 275 schools across Massachusetts have been trained in the MEF SKINCHECK program. Kristen Couture of Bellingham, a melanoma survivor, led the training session on behalf of the Melanoma Education Foundation. At no cost, the foundation will provide a one-hour, on-site training session to high school health educators. Each teacher that attends the training receives a video about the dangers of excess sun exposure, and a supply of early detection bookmarks for their students. The foundation also provides an in-depth curriculum. In return, schools agree to devote one mandatory classroom session to melanoma and early detection.
For information, call the Melanoma Education Foundation at 978-535-3080, or visit its Web site:

"You can still look fashionable while being sun sensible"

Report on ABC News reminds us that sun block can't do it all when it comes to protecting our skin. Your clothes also provide a sun barrier (in case you didn't know that already), and some offer better protection than others.

Dressing for maximum sun protection may seem like a drag as tank tops and shorts finally come out of winter storage. And while sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher is highly recommended to protect your exposed skin from the sun, it cannot give you total protection.

National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month

May is "National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month". Odds are probably pretty good you can find a free skin cancer screening in your area. In fact, if you live in the Ft. Worth/Dallas area there is a free screening on 5/22.

Monday, May 09, 2005


I'll start this off by saying I should have probably done this a long time ago. As Tiffany's cousin I can guarantee she would have had her own blog if she was still with us. My plan so far is to use this space as a place to post comments and links to melanoma-related news items I come across. Thanks for stopping by and feel free to post comments.

Ok, if you don't know it already, melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and it kills most of the time. According to a recent Associated Press story, there is an alarming new trend. The rate of children getting serious skin cancer has more than doubled in the past 20 years.

Pediatric melanoma is uncommon in children, affecting only 7 per million, or about 500, according to 2002 statistics from the National Cancer Institute. But that number has risen from 3 per million in 1982.

This next article eerily ties right in with the above news item. More children are at risk of getting skin cancer than ever before.

An alarming number of children are exposing themselves to danger from the
sun. More than one million people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year and you won't believe how young many of them are.

I know this is a real shocker to everyone, but tanning... is... bad... for... you. Even more amazing according to the Detroit News, teenagers don't seem to care. They'd rather be tan and risk skin cancer than be pale. Why aren't you amazed by that???

Almost 80 percent said they knew tanning can be dangerous and that childhood sunburns increase risks for skin cancer, the survey released today found. Yet 66 percent said people look better with a tan, nearly half said tans look healthier, and 60 percent said they got sunburned last summer.

Maybe it would help if teens understood what a tan really is.

Melanin is not released for the sole purpose of giving your skin a golden color; it is released as a defense mechanism, attempting to shield the inner layers of skin from ultraviolet light.

Believe it or not, having a tan - from either a tanning bed or a day at the beach - is not considered healthy.

Ok, I'm going to bash on teens again, this time teenage boys. According to the American Academy of Dermatology they are the least likely to bother protecting themselves from the sun. I don't recall being all that concerned about being sunburned as a teen so I'm not suprised.

A survey by the American Academy of Dermatology shows teenage boys are least likely to protect themselves from harmful sun rays. This may explain why studies show middle-age and older men have higher rates of skin cancer than any other gender or age group, researchers say.

Finally, if you're into golf and live in Atlanta you may be interested in this. LPGA Tour Golf Professional, Angela Jerman, has partnered up with the Women's Dermatologic Society (WDS) to promote sun protection and early detection as part of the national group's "Play Safe in the Sun" community outreach service at the LPGA Chick-Fil-A Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez, May 12-15. Click here for the press release.